It's a 'funky, veggie forward' hotel because it says so plus 'bungalow' helps bring award

Manchester property roundup where we take a weekly look at which regional schemes are hitting the headlines. This week, a building sums up a changing world.

Deloitte and Amazon make Hanover Building a symbol

Deloitte, amongst other things, is the middle man oiling the wheels of planning for so many developers across the North West. Now they are planning a shift of their city HQ and downsizing.

The company is to move in 2021 from 67,000 sq ft in Hardman Street to WeWork’s Hanover Building on Corporation Street (see our story here). They will take two floors, sharing the building with Amazon, who started to move in at the beginning of 2020, and have taken up the lion’s share of the six storey structure. Hanover House has a total of 91,000 sq ft so the Deloitte’s will be taking far less space than they occupied in Spinningfields.

2019 06 24 Hanover Exterior
A lovely building that symbolises the way the world is going

The downsizing of Deloitte’s square footage and the co-occupancy with Amazon makes Hanover House a symbol of where city commerce and retail might be going – not just in Manchester.

It looks likely we will see many big companies, such as Deloitte, exploiting the opportunity to lower its office costs through the experience of flexible working during lockdown. At the same time Amazon has been rocket-fuelled by furlough financed binge shopping while real shops with the hard costs of rents and rates have been shuttered up by government dictat. It smells grotesquely unfair.

Deloitte’s has even gone so far as lose its office in Liverpool and offer the staff full-time remote working. 

Is there an inherent contradiction in the company’s role in helping bring forward developments, including most of the recently announced office new build, while downsizing its own city centre requirements? Hardly leading by example, is it? 

Or maybe, that is exactly what it is doing. 

2019 06 24 Hanover Entrance
The Hanover Building entrance

Pomona's problematic progress 

The delightfully monikered, not-quite-island, called Pomana Island was due this year for consultation over its future. This has been put back to 2021. Owners Peel Land & Property (Peel L&P) is blaming you-know-what for the delay.

Straddling old dock arms on a 26 acre patch of land between the Bridgewater Canal and Manchester Ship Canal, Pomona Island cries out for imaginative use. It is the link between the city centre, the Old Trafford stadia and The Quays. Its watery geography could provide a delightful promenade between these Manchester highlights.

Sadly, Peel L&P hasn’t started off well in Pomona. The first dreadful blocks at the city centre end of the ‘island’ have already been built. These stunted towers came courtesy of Rowlinson’s and featured in our ‘Worst Buildings’ article in 2017.

The new masterplan for the area will be published early in 2021. The idea is to deliver 2,500-home mixed use scheme with up to 11 acres of public realm. 

We really hope that at least part of the 11 acres of public realm, say, six or seven, can be integral park, rather than it being a series of widened canal paths with benches adding up to a total of 11 acres. 

Pomona is a strategically important part of the city and lies completely within Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council (TMBC). It provides an opportunity for Peel L&P to show its mettle with a really well-thought through, lovely scheme of the highest urban European standard. TMBC must make sure that happens.

2020 11 19 Prop Roundup Pomona
A view down on the strategically important Pomona site

Quirky by design: Qbic Hotels moves in  

London, Brussels, Amsterdam and now Manchester. Qbic hotel group are opening in March 2021 at the corner of John Dalton Street and Deansgate.

The press release description is breathless.

‘Challenging traditional stereotypes, Qbic is reinventing the concept of affordable hotels by focusing on what matters to its stylish, savvy, environmentally responsible guests. The 261 innovative, pet-friendly rooms boast comfortable king-sized beds, high-speed WiFi, water-efficient power showers, sustainable toiletries and complimentary tea and coffee.’

Crikey. Very quirky.

The main image on the top of this page shows how the reception may look.

2020 11 19 Prop Roundup Qbic
The bar of Qbic

There will be a restaurant called Motley on site with 180 covers which - quelle surprise - will offer ‘locally sourced produce’ (Does anybody know how far out from a location does ‘locally sourced’ stop being ‘local’?). 

The food is sharing platters, burgers and the like but is ‘veggie forward’ so there are far more vegetarian dishes than meat. There is also a daily changing selection of ‘Waste Not’ dishes using ingredients that would otherwise go to waste. These include leftover potato hash, fried egg, bruised tomato ketchup, and potato peel and leek ends soup.

The images of the new building reflect its zany, crazy, aren’t-we-funky design although not sure we needed a pic of some coat hangers to prove that.

By the way: there will be a competition to find 100 ‘Qbic Testers’ to sample the hotel during its soft-launch period. To enter visit here.

2020 11 19 Prop Roundup Qbic 3
The very definition of 'funky hangers'.
2020 19 11 Prop Roundup Qbic 6
The corner site of John Dalton Street and Deansgate

Kampus wins fruity award

If you’ve been strolling down Canal Street during lockdown via all the closed bars, tongue dragging on the floor desperate for a drink, there’s at least been something recent and decent to eyeball. 

The cute garden on the south side of the canal in the Kampus development with its entertainingly Brutalist sixties building called ‘the Bungalow’ has been worth a glance. 

Kampus is a £250m development, self-styled a ‘garden neighbourhood’ and now The Developer Magazine in partnership with the Design Council has awarded Kampus a Pineapple. If it had won two such awards it might have won a Pear. If it had won three awards Kampus might have received the ultimate accolade of a Fruit Salad.

Joking aside, The Pineapples 'celebrate the best places in the UK'. Kampus has secured the ‘Place in Progress’ award – jointly winning with Argent’s King’s Cross development. The judges were looking for a place that has made a promising start on the journey towards creating a neighbourhood.

Last year Manchester-based developer Urban Splash won a ‘future place’ Pineapple for its Port Loop scheme in Birmingham.

Kampus will fully open in 2021 and feature 533 apartments across five individual buildings with two floors of independent bars, restaurants and shops. The garden will be publicly accessible, so worth taking a look when you can. Maybe we’ll be able to get glimpse of its Pineapple award, which is after all an appropriately fruity triumph for The Village area. 

2020 11 19 Prop Roundup Kampus Bungalow View From Canal Street
A sweet new city centre addition

That bloody wall…makes the national news

At Manchester Confidential we keep pointing out that the big concrete wall in Piccadilly Gardens is NOT coming down. A tiny part of the whole is being removed but the very large barrier to movement that is the element dividing the Metrolink stop with the Gardens is to remain, although there are tentative plans to hide that longer aggressive concrete with a 'living wall'. 

It was interesting this week to hear that BBC national news had even fallen for the story of Manchester's ‘Berlin Wall’ disappearing. There were full features on two of the Beeb's flagship Radio 4 programmes ‘Today’ and ‘PM’. 

Honestly, this demoltion doesn’t deserve much coverage locally, never mind nationally.  

2020 11 20 Prop Roundup Wall
Really? Removing this qualifies as national news?

Tower of the week, 33 storeys for the Northern Gateway

The former Rochdale Road Gas Works, part of the Northern Gateway, is the focus for a proposal from an arm of MCR Property Group. The design of the development comes from AHR Architects. The site is large, 6.6 acres, and sits behind and slightly to the north of the superb Marble Arch pub at the junction of Gould Street and Rochdale Road.

1,200 homes are planned plus a small public park. The eyecatcher is a 33 storey tower. That is a very tall building. The nearby Angel Gardens from Moda Living is 36 storeys which is 355ft (108m). The proposed tower will make a mark on the skyline. Completion is some years off as that element will be the last to be built. There will be four phases and the first will be two eight storey blocks due in 2023. 

2020 11 20 Prop Roundup Tower Rochdale Road
Gasworks to homes off Rochdale Road
2020 11 20 Prop Roundup Northern Gateway
The site as it is today, a tatty waste of space

Think you know your city? On what building does this lion and unicorn appear?

Here’s an occasional challenge for you. No prizes, no need to reply if you don’t want. Answer next week with an explanation why those beasties are up there.

2020 11 19 Prop Roundup Challenge
Where are these lovely creatures?

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